Home for the Holidays: Nevada City

I really love my hometown.
I moved here when I was 8 from England, and until maybe mid high school, I hated it. Not because the town itself wasn't great, or because the community of eclectic people here aren't incredible, but I hated it just because I was bitter about no longer being in England.

I was very depressed from 8 till 18 and I never had a clear enough mind to really recognize all of the wonderful things that this town held while I was still living here. I mean, I dug a lot of things, but I didn't value it enough. Or at all. My dream was to go straight to college somewhere on the east coast or in England and just free myself from the history I had become a part of in Nevada City. So silly of me.

I couldn't afford to go to school where I wanted to, so my freshman year of college I ended up in the one place I absolutely did NOT want to be in. Southern California. In high school I was known for being into fashion, and I guess that just going by judgement of what is on the outside, maybe SoCal would have appeared to be an ok place for me. Fashion. Blablabla. But I didn't care about fashion in the materialistic sense. I didn't care about projecting an image. For me, fashion was everyday art, a chance to create something new everyday. I was voted best dressed and most likely to be a fashion designer in Hollywood when I was a senior in high school. Honestly, I was really disappointed that people saw me that way. But I think that maybe, or at least hopefully, people recognized that I was more interested in the art of fashion than the gross-ness of it all.

Anyway, I hated SoCal. Really really didn't like it, didn't fit in. I was bullied and teased a lot for not drinking, for dressing differently, for most everything about me. And that was college. I felt like I had regressed into an alternative universe where I had to live out the most ridiculous stereotypes of high school...but in college, where people are supposedly more interested in their education than in being materialistic, vulgar, and immature.

As soon as I began my year in SoCal, immediately seeing how completely different Southern California culture is compared to Nevada City, I was slapped in the face with a sudden recognition of the hidden beauty of home. I grew immensely homesick, but my parents made me stick the year out. And I am glad they did. It was probably the worst year of my life, depression took hold of me to the point that I would sleep till 3pm and stay up till 6am just to avoid how out of place I felt while I was there. That year forced me to love myself despite any hate I felt from others toward me. That year taught me to fight for what I am and what I want to be, to fight for what I care about, be it a silent but strong fight.
That year taught me to value all the good that I had in the community of home, and it taught me to really pursue good hearted, sincere and honest people because outside of Nevada City, they were really hard to find.

I transferred to school in Seattle, WA my sophomore year. I was able to recognize my needs and I found them all in my new community of Seattle. People there still aren't as warm and open as people in Nevada City, but it is a good place. And I am thankful I went to school there. The arts and music community really speak to me and make me feel at home in my career goals.

I still live in Seattle, and I am so thankful that I have the jobs that I have, all working in the arts. If I were at home in Nevada City I probably wouldn't have the same opportunities I have in Seattle. But, especially over the past year, when I come back to Nevada City to visit, I feel ever more homesick. I love the community here so much. I love the mountains, the trees, the peaceful spirit of this entire county. I love the spirit of the people here. There's not anxiety. There's no rushing around. People are just warm. There is love and acceptance, there is freedom and interest in culture not just within the walls of the county. There is no other place like it.

As I grow up, I more and more realize that the person am growing into is really nothing like I had projected for myself as a young teenager. I am more easily satisfied with simple things, simple living, simple souls than I had expected to be in the past. I had lofty dreams and high aspirations, and I still do, but those dreams have such different roots now. When I was in high school I wanted to be a museum curator, traveling the world alone, leading a sophisticated life, mixing and mingling only with the most highly educated people. I wanted escape from the confines of the small town I grew up in.
And now, I just want to love. I feel like such an idiot saying it, but I just want to create, make art, make music, work really hard at all I do so that by working hard doing what I love, I can give even more to other people.
I am an artist's assistant to this incredibly talented man: John Grade.
I will be doing more artist assistant work for these talented architects/artist: Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo.
I have a jewelry business online: Moorea Seal Designs.
I do freelance Illustration and Graphic Design.
I'm in a band: The Mopes
I do lots of artistic things, but judging by most peoples reactions to my answer to "what do you do?" I don't think many people believe my pursuits are mature or legitimate. Oh well.

Part of me wishes I were on a more fascinating, sophisticated track than I find myself on now. Part of me wishes I had an incredible brain that would store libraries full of fascinating knowledge. I wish I were an intellectual. But in learning to love myself when I was most depressed at 18, I learned to really embrace what I am made to do and be, beyond that which I would like to be and do that doesn't come naturally for me. I just look at life and think about what really makes me feel ALIVE, not just living day to day: Art, Music, Creativity, Imagination, Love, Friendship, Mentorship, Giving, Encouraging, Spirituality, Honesty, Sincerity, Devotion, Self Expression, Liberation, Freedom. Those all sound like being ALIVE to me.
I love books, I love learning through studying, acquisition of knowledge. But growth and expansion of mind, for me, doesn't just come through text on a page. It doesn't just come through verbal communication. I need more, or just different things to really feel like i am living.

Some people are beautiful enough to find living in their incredible minds enough to feel ALIVE. Some find that simply living out life in a highly physical and sensory way is their way to be ALIVE.
For me, I need abstract creative thoughts combined with the kinesthetic crafting and production with my hands and vocal chords to feel alive. Beyond that, I need purpose found in trying to bring beauty, goodness and love into other peoples lives. I wish I were more heady, but my heart is bigger than my head. I feel wise, but I don't feel particularly intellectual. And I know that who I am was lovingly cultivated by the community of Nevada City.

I used to feel lonely here, like I didn't fit in. But now I feel more at peace here, more accepted, more at home than I ever felt before. I am sad knowing that I don't have enough time to catch up with all the unique and beautiful people I was lucky enough to know at varying degrees in high school. My dad always told me that I would never really see these people again and that I should care more about people from college. But I am finding, post college grad, that I am more interested in rekindling friendships from high school than I am interested in pursuing college friendships. Maybe I just want what I can't have, grass is greener on the other side, but facts are: I love Nevada City.

I only wish I could have appreciated the place, the people, the spirit of home when I had the chance. Even when I came home for breaks in college, I didn't try hard enough. Now I can only scoop all the goodness I can get for a few days at a time when I had a break in my schedule. Before Thanksgiving, I hadn't been home since the previous Christmas break. Too long. My heart longs for this place. When I was in high school, the shy but tough little me would never have never imagined myself to be so sentimental now.

...According to Meyers Briggs/the Jung Typology Test...
When I was in high school I was an INTJ: the scientist
For the past few years I've been an INFP: the idealist

who would have thought rational, logical Moorea who hated idealism in high school would feel more like a daydreaming child now more than ever. I am not who I expected to be. And there will always be attributes I admire, but lack. But I am happy just the way I am. Thank you Nevada City for letting me BE.


Anonymous said...

moorea. this whole gosh darn post gave me gooosebumps of goodness. thank you for the right words, at the right time. missing you, and your tender lovin' soul. you are such a beauty.
lurrrrv, nova.

Anonymous said...

You are the most wonderful child/woman/adult/artist! We love you till our hearts break!